Carnegie Mellon University officially celebrated the formal groundbreaking of a new student health, wellness and athletics facility on Nov. 19 that will span 160,000-square-feet upon its completion.
The project will preserve and make enhancements to the existing Skibo Gymnasium as well as include a significant expansion on the corner of Tech and Margaret Morrison streets on the university’s Oakland campus. New space will be created for University Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services and CMU’s intercollegiate athletics program. CMU said it also plans to incorporate wellness and mindfulness programming into the new facility in addition to recreational sports, religious and spiritual life activities and sports medicine.
CMU President Farnam Jahanian said the groundbreaking marks the culmination of work that’s been years in the making.
“In 2015, the university community came together to articulate our strategic priorities, and at the heart of our Strategic Plan 2025 is a commitment to enhance the CMU student experience and promote holistic student success within but also beyond the classroom, lab and studio,” Jahanian said. “Far too often, colleges and universities are viewing the health of their students and well-being of their students through a very narrow prism of simply reacting to things that show up … we’re taking a much, much broader perspective. We aim to make Carnegie Mellon University a national leader in a much more sophisticated and an integrated and proactive approach to health and well-being of our students.”
Funding for the endeavor comes in part from a $35 million grant awarded to the university by Highmark Health in 2019. According to Highmark Health President and CEO David Holmberg, it was ultimately a coffee meeting during a tour on campus with Jahanian a few years ago that led to the funding award in addition to the health benefits the center aims to offer students.
“When this opportunity came up, we couldn’t think of a better way to make an adjustment in the future than to build this health and wellness pavilion,” Holmberg said while speaking to students and faculty in attendance at the groundbreaking. “We’re honored to be here because we are you, and you are making a difference in the community, you’ll make a difference in the future and we hope that this center enables the next generation to be better off than what you have found when you cam here.”
The project, which CMU anticipates completing in 2024, is estimated to cost $105 million.
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